LISALaser Interferometer Space Antenna


Prof.dr. Gijs Nelemans
Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht
SRON, Radboud

LISA is the European Space Agency's L3 flagship mission, planned for a launch in 2034, and will be the first space mission aimed at detecting gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. They are emitted by objects with a strong, varying gravitational field, such as black hole binaries and mergers of compact objects, and possibly by processes in the very early universe. The main scientific aims of the mission are: i) to unravel the role of astrophysical black hole mergers in the formation of structure in the universe, ii) to measure the properties of black holes in great detail; iii) use that to test General Relativity; iv) to probe the physics of the very early universe and v) to study the ultra-compact binaries in our Milky Way.

The LISA mission consists of a triangular constellation of three satellites that exchange laser beams over a distance of 2.5 million kilometers. By careful comparison of the incoming laser frequency and phase with a local reference laser tiny deviations of the constellation geometry can be measured that are caused by passing gravitational waves. With its very long arm lengths, the LISA mission will be sensitive to gravitational waves with much longer wavelengths than those detected by ground based detectors. The long-wavelength signals are produced by merging super-massive black holes, white dwarf, neutron star and black hole binaries and compact stars spiralling into super-massive black holes as well as potentially signatures of the Early Universe.
The research made possible with this mission is the study of super-massive black-hole mergers and structure formation throughout the Universe, probing the origin of super-massive black holes, testing general relativity, studying the formation and evolution of compact object binaries and probing the physics of the Early Universe.

Aansluiting bij strategische ontwikkelingen
High Tech Systemen en Materialen
Oorsprong van het leven- op aarde en in het heelal
Bouwstenen van materie en fundamenten van ruimte en tijd